The 14th April is St. Tiburtius Day and is traditionally when you will hear the first cuckoo, as celebrated in Rudyard Kipling’s Cuckoo Song:

Cuckoo, bring your song here!
Warrant, Act and Summons, please,
For Spring to pass along here!


The cuckoo migrates north from Africa and the date of its arrival, although traditionally the 14th April, varies in different parts of the country.

The first sighting is often in the far South West, in the Isle of Scilly and then gradually moves northwards. In recent years the cuckoo has tended to arrive on average five days earlier than usual, likely due to climate change.

On hearing the first cuckoo in spring it is traditional to pen a letter to The Times but you can also send your reports to us here - we'd love to hear from you. Just let us know when and where you heard it.

Previous years: 2016     2015     2014     2013     2012     2011     2010   

Want to learn more about cuckoos? You may be interested in the following:

Cuckoo: Cheating By Nature
Singing Toy Cuckoo
Cuckoo Call

First Cuckoo Silverhill Wood 2017

David Cooke wrote to say he had heard the first cuckoo of the year quite clearly at Silverhill Wood, Nottinghamshire today at midday. It's still very early for cuckoos to have returned to the UK so perhaps David was mistaken.
First Cuckoo Harrow 2017

Sue said she heard a cuckoo at about 8 o'clock this morning. It is very early for cuckoos to be in the UK. At this time of year they are often confused with collared doves.
First Cuckoo Bridgwater 2017

Stephen Packer wrote to say he heard a cuckoo at 08:45 am today in Bridgwater, Somerset. He asked if it was unusual to hear one this early.

It is very unlikely that what Stephen heard was a cuckoo as they do not return to the UK when it is still so cold. It could have been a collared dove.
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